A critical study of Barbara Pym as comic writer and of the links between her life and autobiographical writings and her fiction, written with a liveliness of style and tone that matches Pym's own.
When British writers Philip Larkin and Lord David Cecil named Barbara Pym one of the twentieth century's most underrated authors in a 1977 Times Literary Supplement survey, they started a Barbara Pym revival that continued unabated in Great Britain and the United States. Barbara Pym's delightful tales of jumble sales and parish meetings, her ironic insights into the relationships between women and men, have won a devoted following. Indeed she is often compared to that most accomplished author of comedies of manners, Jane Austen.
The Pleasure of Miss Pym is a critical study of Pym as comic writer and of the links between her life and autobiographical writings and her fiction, written with a liveliness of style and tone that matches Pym's own. Not only does Charles Burkhart provide perceptive discussions of Pym's life and novels, he also illuminates the worldview represented in her work, the unique nature of her comedy, her religion, her place within the history of the novel, and her penetrating insights into male-female relationships. All of Pym's work, including the 1986 posthumous publication, An Academic Question, is intelligently surveyed here. Scholars of contemporary English literature will derive both instruction and pleasure from this elegantly written study, as will Pym's admiring readers, for whom it is also intended.
- 1. Miss Pym and the World
- 2. Miss Pym and the World of Her Novels
- 3. Miss Pym and the Africans
- 4. Miss Pym and the Comic Muse
- 5. Miss Pym and Men and Women
- 6. God and Miss Pym
“Burkhart's style is impressive, entertaining, and even dazzling in places. Very rare for a book to be both solidly scholarly and a good read.”
William McBrien, Editor, Twentieth Century Literature